Old 10-24-2010, 04:26 PM   #1
Brian Sandberg
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Default Processing with PSE8

Recently, I find myself longing for the days of shooting Fuji Sensia 100 with my trusty Nikon N80! I switched to digital a couple years back and have been largely unhappy with my efforts to date. The overwhelming majority of my pictures are rejected by RP for being too soft. Through the RP Forums, I have determined the problem appears to be in post processing with PSE8 and not with the actual image from the camera. I am shooting in RAW format and the image is clear and crisp in PSE8. When I resize the image and convert to JPEG however, the image quality is drastically reduced. I picked up a book, spent quite a bit of time reading posts from this forum and experimented on my own. What I have discovered is that when I attempt to sharpen (tried both the Unsharp Mask Tool and Auto Sharpen), the image immediately looks jagged when even a minimal amount of sharpening is applied.

I would like to hear from people who are processing their RAW images in PSE8, to determine exactly what steps they are taking to process their images prior to submitting them to RP. What setting are you using in Unsharp Mask? Am I better off just shooting JPEG's?

Please understand that we all have different opinions of what the best process is, and I do not want to start a debate between forum members. I just want to get a concensus of what people are doing.

Thanks,
Brian
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Old 10-25-2010, 03:20 AM   #2
callduckfarm
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I'm with you, I miss my film!!!
Post processing is a frustrating thing for me, being an older person. My kids pick this computer stuff up better than me.
I convert my RAW to a TIFF, making some adjustments to color, contrast, and brightness if required. I then resize to a 1024 wide JPEG and then use the Adjust Sharpness set at 50 and .5 for Gaussian Blur, OR I just hit Autosharpen and see what happens. If it looks too jaggy, I'll undo it and give it the 50 and .5 for Gaussian Blur and try it. I'm still trying to figure this PSE8 stuff out also, and today was actually considering buying an order of slide film and just letting the kids use the DSLR. I guess we just need to persevere!!
I tried TAMR159's method from another thread, but could't even figure out how to get to Lab Color mode. It doesn't help that I don't understand the lingo used by the younger folks.

Mike

Quote:
Originally Posted by TAMR159 View Post
I always sharpen before resizing; first I convert to Lab Color mode, then I select the Lightness layer only. I usually hit it with USM at 140%, radius 1.0, threshold 0. It looks a bit over-sharpened before resizing, but ends up being very crisp once resized (I resize using plain ol' Bicubic). I then use the sharpening hand tool (click and hold the water drop on the toolbar, then select the triangle) at 20% to touch up details, again in the Lightness layer only before converting back to RGB. This process has yielded the best results for me by a long shot, making everything crisp and clear without the jagged lines showing up (it's also helped me save some photos that were a bit soft at full resolution).
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Old 10-25-2010, 03:11 PM   #3
KevinM
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Hi Brian,

When you do the sharpening operations on your photos, are you using the viewer on the pop-up box that shows the image at 100%? I highly recommend doing that. Attempting to judge an image from the full-screen PSE viewer will throw you off. I've found that almost any sharpening pass will make the full-screen image look awful, but when you zoon in to 100%, you'll get a much better idea what it would look like if you actually printed it.

The actual numbers to use in your sharpening passes depend upon a number of things. Your camera already does some sharpening and how you have that set up will dictate what you do on subsequent passes. I usually do one pass on the full size image before I save it as a TIFF. After I resize it for RP, I do another pass with drastically reduced settings. Generally, I look at the pop-up window that shows the image at 100%, start with low-ball settings and adjust upward slowly until the image FIRST starts to look sharp....and stop there. Sure, it will look even sharper as you go even higher with the Amount and Radius settings, but bad things start to happen (halos etc) when you do.

I've never had the problem of having my shots look too soft. I tend to like a very sharp photo and a few of the Screeners here used to complain of corneal lacerations when looking at my early photos. In the last year or two, I've backed off on my algorithm and when in doubt, I usually go a little softer than I'd like, because I know even that will be pretty sharp. It sounds as if you need to do the opposite and get just a little more aggressive with your sharpening. Rather than get rejections, post some samples here and let folks give you some opinions. That's my suggestion.
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Old 10-25-2010, 06:08 PM   #4
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I'll just add my frustrations to the list with the first two posters. I too used to shoot slide film and traded with many respected shooters of aviation subjects and never had a complaint of soft images. I took great satisfaction with finding the best shooting angles rather than now of exactly cropping the photo just perfectly and a millimeter this way or that way.

Sadly Kodachrome is going off the market but other types will still be available.

At times I think they should rename the site PhotoshopRailPictures.net.

I keep plugging away because like all of us I see myself more of an artist and want to capture the beauty of what is around us.
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Old 11-19-2010, 08:20 PM   #5
John West
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Sharpening is one of interesting challenges of digital processing, and I do not pretend to be any kind of expert. But in my experience it is really easy to oversharpen, and not necessarily notice it until later. My guess is you are oversharpening after the conversion to jpeg, but that is only a guess on my part. The settings I typically use are a radius of .4. an amount of about 20, and set to remove Gaussian blur. But that is only after I have done my major sharpening on a larger version of the image. However, a lot depends on how and how much sharpening has been done prior to that. Because over sharpening really bothers me, my bias is to sharpen as much as I think looks okay, and then back off a bit. FWIW, my own experience since going from film to digital is it is a bunch easier to get good pix with digital, for a whole bunch of reasons, so don't give up.
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Old 11-19-2010, 11:18 PM   #6
Northern Limits
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Quote:
Originally Posted by callduckfarm View Post
I'm with you, I miss my film!!!
Post processing is a frustrating thing for me, being an older person. My kids pick this computer stuff up better than me.
I convert my RAW to a TIFF, making some adjustments to color, contrast, and brightness if required. I then resize to a 1024 wide JPEG and then use the Adjust Sharpness set at 50 and .5 for Gaussian Blur, OR I just hit Autosharpen and see what happens. If it looks too jaggy, I'll undo it and give it the 50 and .5 for Gaussian Blur and try it. I'm still trying to figure this PSE8 stuff out also, and today was actually considering buying an order of slide film and just letting the kids use the DSLR. I guess we just need to persevere!!
I tried TAMR159's method from another thread, but could't even figure out how to get to Lab Color mode. It doesn't help that I don't understand the lingo used by the younger folks.

Mike
On the Enhance> Adjust Sharpness> Remove> from drop down menu select "Lens Blur". Start at Amount 80 and Radius 0.9
Or you can also get some ideas from this thread: http://forums.railpictures.net/showt...t=unsharp+mask
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